Cards need to take advantage of game in hand
8:01pm, Wed 11th Jan 2017
Torquay United v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 14 January 2017
With only North Ferriby United also having a league game on Saturday, this match is a huge opportunity for the Cards to leap out of the bottom four, but it will take not only the commitment shown in the last two league games but also sharper finishing and more obdurate defending if Garry Hillâ€™s side are not to suffer disappointment again on the road. The Gulls have generally been in good form recently and will be keen to avenge their earlier defeats against the Cards in the league and Emirates FA Cup this season.
Last Saturdayâ€™s defeat at Wrexham and victories for Southport and Braintree Town on Tuesday night have left the Cards in an even more precarious position in the league table. They now sit in 22nd place, one point behind Guiseley, who occupy the last relegation slot, and two points behind Maidstone United, but with a game in hand on both. But Southport and Braintree have now pulled themselves six points clear of the Cards, though Garry Hillâ€™s side have a game in hand on both. With only one league win on the road this season, at Maidstone United, it is critical that the Cards start to gather some points on their travels if they are to avoid the drop.
Young loanee striker, Connor Hall, made his debut at Wrexham. He was given a tough time by the Wrexham defenders and missed a couple of good chances but he seems likely to keep his place in the starting line-up, especially since Max Kretzschmar, who played up front on New Yearâ€™s Day in an interesting experiment, is apparently out for two or three weeks with a knee injury.
Charlie Carter scored both goals in Tuesday nightâ€™s 2-0 win over Leatherhead in the Surrey Senior Cup.
The Gulls, under inspirational player/manager Kevin Nicholson, engineered a miraculous escape from relegation last season after suffering huge financial problems. A proposed takeover fell through over the summer but a subsidiary of Gaming International has recently bought a controlling interest in the club.
On the field, Nicholson has managed to keep the Gulls clear of the relegation places, with some fine performances, including the 4-3 win and 5-5 draw against Forest Green Rovers in the Christmas/New Year â€˜double headerâ€™. But the Gulls were disappointing, apparently, in their 1-0 home defeat last Saturday to Boreham Wood (Bruno Andrade scoring the winning goal). Torquay presently sit in 17th place, level on points with Braintree and Southport.
On the field, Nicholson was able to strengthen the side in the summer, presumably with money coming from the sale of captain Angus MacDonald to Barnsley for an undisclosed fee. Among the new arrivals were ex-Card Brett Williams; Sean McGinty, the ex-Aldershot defender; Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, a defender returning to the club; midfielder Damon Lathrope, also returning to Plainmoor; and Giancarlo Gallifuoco, an Australian U23 defender. Players remaining from last season include midfielder Luke Young, new captain Courtney Richards; and influential ex-Braintree winger Dan Sparkes. Lathrope, Young and Gallifuoco are all out injured at present.
Striker Nathan Blissett has just moved to Plymouth Argyle for an undisclosed fee, but Shaun Harrad has returned to the club from Wrexham. The Gulls lost striker Kieffer Moore in December, returning to Forest Green Rovers after a successful loan spell.
Striker Jamie Reidâ€™s loan from Exeter City has been extended to the end of the season. Other loan players are defender Paul Rooney from Millwall; winger David Fitzpatrick from AFC Wimbledon; and 19-year-old striker Shaun McCoulsky from Bristol City but who was previously with Dulwich Hamlet and Walton Casuals.
Torquay United Football Club
Official website: www.torquayunited.com
The Cards Trust is not running a coach to this game.
M3, A303, A30 and M5 to Exeter. A380 to Newton Abbot (Penn Inn Roundabout). Follow signs to Torquay, past the Willows Shopping Centre, then next left at traffic lights. Follow signs for Torquay United/Plainmoor through three roundabouts. At top of hill traffic lights go straight on into Warbro Road. Ground is on the right-hand side. Away turnstiles are just off Warbro Road, down the lane next to the Gullsâ€™ Lodge. AA estimate: three and a half hours for 170 miles.
Torquay Station is about two miles from the ground.
The only realistic option, because of engineering works, is to get the 09.25 to Guildford, which, via changes at Guildford, Reading and Newton Abbot, should get you to Torquay at 12.48. Other services involve a bus journey for part of the way. On the way back youâ€™d want to get the 17.16, which, via similar changes, should get you back to Woking at 21.25 â€“ but a very quick exit and a taxi waiting would probably be required. Look up www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.thetrainline.com for more information.
If youâ€™re walking from the station, turn left into Rathmore Road and follow the road down, crossing to Falkland Road. Carry on by way of Lucius Street and Tor Hill Road into Union Street. Take the St Marychurch Road and climb the hill towards Babbacombe and then take the third turning on the right into Bronshill Road. The stadium floodlights will be visible on the left after a few minutes.
BRISTOW'S BENCH/AWAY SEATING
Â£15 (over 65 and NUS card holders)
Free (U7 with a full paying adult)
Popside / Away Terrace
Â£12 (over 65 and NUS card holders)
Free (U7 with a full paying adult)
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 2 Torquay United 1
Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay
16 October 2016
The Cards finally made it through to the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup thanks to two second-half Gozie Ugwu goals. But it was a close-run thing, with the Cardsâ€™ defence under great pressure in the closing stages.
Woking had the better of the first half but Delano Sam-Yorke missed a penalty early on and then Torquay scored after Gallifuocoâ€™s header had hit the woodwork and rebounded to Chaney, who slotted home.
But the Cards hit back early in the second half, Ugwu first sliding in to convert an excellent Jake Caprice cross and then heading home Fabio Saraivaâ€™s cross. Nerves were shredded before the final whistle but the Cards finally squeezed through to a First Round tie at Stockport County.
Woking: Brandon Hall; Jake Caprice; Ismail Yakubu (Anthony Edgar 46); Brian Saah (Joey Jones 19); Nathan Ralph; Dennon Lewis (Frankie Sutherland 88); Charlie Carter; Keiran Murtagh; Fabio Saraiva; Gozie Ugwu; Delano Sam-Yorke
Unused subs: Luke Terry; Luke Kandi; Max Kretzschmar
Goals: Gozie Ugwu 57; 62
Torquay United: Brendan Moore; Aman Verma; Giancarlo Gallifuoco; Kevin Nicholson; Courtney Richards; Luke Young; Joe Wako (Damon Lathrope 72); Sam Chaney; Sean McGinty; Dan Sparkes (Jamie Chamberlain 85); Nathan Blissett (Brett Williams 46)
Unused subs: Jamie Robba
Goal: Sam Chaney 22
The Cards are at home to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday 21 January, while Gez Soleâ€™s testimonial game is at 7pm on Tuesday 24 January.
Come on, you Cards!